Most experts agree that ADHD is a diagnosable disorder. However, there are
outspoken critics who insist it's a fraud perpetrated by the psychiatric and
pharmaceutical industries on families anxious to understand their childrens'
Here are the views of the critics: Peter Breggin, M.D., psychiatrist and
author of Talking Back to Ritalin, and neurologist Fred Baughman. Also
presented here are opposing views of: Russell Barkley, professor of
psychiatry and neurology at University of Massachusetts Medical Center; Denver
psychiatrist William Dodson; and Peter Jensen, M.D. director of Columbia
University's Center for the Advancement of Children's Mental Health. Their
comments are drawn from their extended interviews with FRONTLINE.
Among those who agree that ADHD is a valid disorder there are nonetheless
questions about the role of pharmaceutical companies and HMOs in the rising
rates of ADHD and drug treatment.
Here are the views of psychiatrist William Dodson M.D., who is paid by Shire
Richwood Pharmaceuticals to speak to other doctors about Adderall, Shire
Richwood's ADHD medication; Lawrence Diller, M.D., author of Running on
Ritalin; Peter Jensen, M.D. director of Columbia University's Center for
the Advancement of Children's Mental Health; neurologist Fred Baughman; Peter
Breggin, M.D., psychiatrist and author of Talking Back to Ritalin; and
Harold Koplewicz, M.D., director for the New York University Child Study Center.
Their comments are drawn from their extended interviews with FRONTLINE.
Nationwide, class action suits have been filed alleging the manufacturers of
Ritalin, the American Psychiatric Association, and CHADD have conspired to
invent and promote the ADHD diagnosis in order to increase drug sales. Some of
the lawyers involved in these suits worked on the 1998 tobacco industry
In conjunction with releasing its 1996 and 1997 annual reports, the UN's
International Narcotics Control Board issued warnings about the dramatically
increasing use of methylphenidate (Ritalin), primarily in the U.S. The
Board cited concerns about the possibility of over-diagnosis of ADHD and
consequent overuse of the drug, and, the potential for abuse. [Subsequent
annual reports from the INCB--which state the U.S. produces/consumes more than
80% of the world's methylphenidate--were not released with similar warnings.]
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